Gratitude Day 657

Luke 10:27 – The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

“How are you today?”

We ask each other this question. Do we want to know … or are we just being nice?

Nonetheless, think about what YOUR standard answer is.

“I’m good.”

“I’m OK.”

“I’m fine.”

Hubby Rick has a great response: “Better than I deserve.”

Most often, I say “I’m fine.” It’s my go-to answer. If I’m good, it’s a better day. If I say, “I’m OK,” well, not so much.

I feel like I’ve been stuck in a “fine” state of life for a bit too long. My life isn’t awful or bad. It’s just not the spectacular life that I yearn and long for. Things aren’t bad. They just aren’t fantastic.

I know that I am blessed. I know that my life is very rosy compared to 99% of the world. I have nothing to complain about.

But I want more than fine.

As I have been doing some self-reflection recently, I have also realized that my personal relationship with God would also be best described as “fine.” Again, it’s not awful or terrible. It’s just not great or fantastic. More reflection has me asking myself, “Is a fine relationship with God what you want? Or do you yearn for something more?”

Early in July, Hubby Rick and I were on vacation. And this same topic came up with a couple people we visited with. Both people would say their lives were good. But they are wanting something more. They just aren’t sure what this “more” is.

Is it a risk for me, a pastor, to admit that my relationship with God isn’t exactly what I want it to be? Yep. But maybe my vulnerability will confirm that pastors are just like everyone else. We have the same struggles as you do because we put our pants on just like the rest of the world. 

Most believers can identify a time when they felt closer to God. They can also quickly identify a time when God felt farther away. When this happens, it’s normal for us to question where God is. And we wonder why having a relationship with God feels like SO. MUCH. WORK.

Just like your relationship with other people, there will be times when your relationship with God feels harder than you want it to. Guess what? THIS IS NORMAL! Because our relationship with God is never static, it will always be increasing or decreasing; just like every other relationship in your life. Even if the movement is miniscule, it will be changing. This is just how relationships work.

When we feel farther away from God, we can do the things that could bring us closer to God. We can read the Bible more, pray more, practice the spiritual disciplines, give back to God’s kingdom or see if there is sin that keeps you from being comfortable with God. Even when God feels farther away, we are always promised that God will be with us in the dark valleys of life. And in the fine spots as well.

As I began thinking about my “fine” life, I decided that I want more than just a “fine” relationship with God. I want to love the Lord my god with all of my heart, my soul, my strength and mind. But I just haven’t been feeling it. I also am aware of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. If I want something different, then I have to do something different.

While we are more open to doing this in other parts of our lives, it’s valuable to see the benefit of doing this in our spiritual part of our lives as well. I decided to do one small thing. While I have read through the Bible many times, I decided to read through the New Testament Gospels one chapter at a time. Ideally, one chapter a day. As I read, I would specifically look for WHO Jesus was in each chapter.

This is a shift for me. Most often when I read scripture, I’m looking for the action. WHAT is happening. This time, rather than looking at the WHAT, I would focus on the WHO.

While I haven’t read a chapter of the gospels every day, I make sure and do it five or six times a week. As I have shifted from looking for the “Who Jesus is?” rather than the “What is Jesus doing?” I realized that I have been asking the wrong question in my spiritual journey with God. For months, well, years actually, I’ve been asking God, “What do You want me to do, God?” It’s the wrong question. The question I should be asking is “WHO do you want me to be, God?”

It’s such an easy trap to fall into. We spend so much of our time and energy focusing on WHAT we do that we forget WHO we are and WHOSE we are. When we allow ourselves to look at the WHO and WHOSE first, then I think the WHAT we are to do becomes much clearer. As we identify with our WHO, we become clearer about why God created us. What special and unique gifts God has granted us to use for God’s kingdom. This allows us to only do the things that our WHO says we should do and leaves the rest for someone else.

Your WHO will change over your lifetime. Your WHO today may be very different from what it was five or ten years ago. We should keep asking God over and over what our WHO is because it can be evolving.

I am convinced that when I am focusing more on my WHO, then it will become easier for me to love God fully with my whole heart, mind, strength and soul. And this, my friends, is what Jesus said is the most important command for us to follow.

I’m still discovering my WHO for this stage of my life. It’s taking me time to be clear about this. It takes energy and effort. It means being open to listening to God rather than having a one-sided conversation with God where I do all the talking. This works best when I keep myself open and available to hear from God.

If you are clear about your WHO right now, kudos to you. If not, then allow time and space and energy for this to become possible. If you are struggling with WHAT you should be doing right now, maybe you’re asking the wrong question. A slight shift can make a difference. It’s not happening overnight for me. And this is OK. I’ve been asking the wrong question for a while. And am being patience as I shift gears with the right question.

For the courage to ask a different question, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – It is so easy for us to focus on WHAT we should be doing that we sometimes fail to see WHO we are and WHOSE we are. Challenge me to make sure that I am clear about this. Encourage me to reflect upon WHO Jesus was and what a difference this makes in my life. And then, help me discover how to love you with my whole mind, heart, strength and soul. Amen.

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